I have no doubt that the tar sands are an environmental disaster. The sickly rainbow of an oil-slick in a Walmart parking lot puddle is enough to gross me out. So it doesn’t take much to convince me that a 50sq mile waste-water pond isn’t this summer’s vacation hotspot. Don’t waste your time convincing me that the tar sands are an ‘evil’ expression of corporate greed and political negligence. I have to coexist with smelly, myopic homo sapiens every day. I am already drowning in the viscous, quotidian evidence of man’s brutishness.
Not to say that I find sanctuary in ‘realism.’ Realistically, if man wasn’t mindlessly chasing money and sucking every last drop of resource out of the ground and greedily selling it to other grotesquely overweight men that live in cities so grossly underplanned that they need a car to get to the nearest McDonalds so they consume themselves to death while idling in the parking lot, he would probably be at war. Realism is not a comforting proposition.
Yes. The tar sands are a reality. Just think of the ineluctable moustache of Daniel Day Lewis. There may not be blood these days, but There will be Oil. There will be irreversible damage to Northern Alberta (although to be honest it’s hardly a place where life or human activity of any sort can be said to ‘thrive’). Economic growth will continue unfettered. Man will continue to extract, purify, package, transport, brand, and distribute oil with remarkable efficacy. And he will continue to shirk dish duty after he feasts.
Yet, without accepting the banality of evil or the complacency of realism, I feel an enormous reservoir of untapped scorn for the latest environmental campaign against the tar sands. Take a look at www.rethinkAlberta.com. Admittedly, the images of drowning ducks in the last throes of oleaginous life and razed landscapes are cheerless. But media like this only muddies the issues and pollutes our chances of changing our stubborn reality.
Take this geographical idiocy from their survey as an example: Which country is proposing an extensive network of Tar Sands pipelines and refineries that will keep the U.S. committed to dirty oil for at least another 30 years, while putting the areas around it (i.e. The Great Lakes) at risk of contamination?
Hm. Is it Venezuela? South Africa? I really don’t know…Not exactly flattering to the intelligence. And last time I checked, the great lakes are a long way from Fort MacMurray. (click here for a pipeline map, if you’re into pipelines…)
What would the Thoreau say today if he was forced to suffer through the condescending stupidity of the rethinkAlberta.com survey and website? Rather than love, or money, or fresh air, or healthy beautiful baby ducklings or oil revenues or the heads of the heads of our energy companies on a stake, give me some god-damn facts. Or, heaven forbid, the roughest sketch of a solution.
I don’t know why the bêtises of protestors rankle more than the endless stupidities of the corporate hegemony. It’s unfair. In fact, the former tends to be far more harmless. But there is something so distasteful about the hypocritical mudraking and hateful hysteria of the left. It seems more about anger than hard work, empathy or creative solutions for the sad world we are trapped in. That’s it really. The hatred. rethinkAlberta.com is condemnatory and hateful to a whole population. To my (I am loathe to admit it) population. Its hatred that makes me think of Hanna Arendt and Adolf Eichmann.
“Just as you supported and carried out a policy of not wanting to share the earth with the Jewish people and the people of a number of other nations — as though you and your superiors had any right to determine who should and who should not inhabit the world — we find that no one, that is, no member of the human race, can be expected to want to share the earth with you. This is the reason, and the only reason, you must hang.”
I was hoping to fill this piece with light-hearted satire. Instead I find myself alluding to the Holocaust. I blame the lugubriosity of Monday mornings. And the fact that another internet prospector stole my idea for this post: rethinkrethinkAlberta.com.
In conclusion, come visit. Alberta is super sweet. We’ve got dinosaur bones.